The Southern women’s basketball team is known for using every player on its roster, and it has any number of players it can turn to when someone is called from the bench.
After two games of Southwestern Athletic Conference play, senior guard Jaden Towner is making sure coach Carlos Funchess is looking her way.
Towner scored 11 consecutive points for Southern (3-10, 1-1) in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game at Texas Southern. Her one-person run had Southern within one point of the Tigers, who eventually defeated the Jaguars 61-56.
On Monday, Towner scored nine points as Southern defeated Prairie View and former coach Sandy Pugh 68-48.
The competition will again be tough when SWAC play continues this weekend. First up, the Southern women will host rival Grambling (2-11, 1-1) on Saturday in their first home game since Nov. 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
On Monday, the Jaguars will host another rival, Jackson State (4-8, 2-0), which picked up a 65-54 win over UL two weeks ago. That game will start earlier than usual, tipping off at 1 p.m.
Senior leadership has been a key for Southern this season with Brittany Rose (9.8 points) and Towner (7.0 points) both doing their part.
“Leadership is one of those things you’ve got to have,” Funchess said. “We need that (from Towner) as well as consistency because she’s been there. She’s been a part of two championship teams so she knows what it takes. Its extremely hard work trying to win a championship.”
Southern’s work ethic was tested to its fullest extent early in the season. The Jaguars defeated Tougaloo College 100-39 on Nov. 13 at the F.G. Clark Activity Center, and then played 10 consecutive road games.
The reasoning behind the road schedule was simple: Get better for conference play.
“Those games were to get us battle tested,” Towner said. “We have to be ready when we’re challenged by any team in the SWAC. It helped us a lot and its going to help us down the road.”
Grambling is led by former Scotlandville High star Justice Coleman, who averages 13.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Other top scorers are Candice Parramore at 10.0 points and Ariel Williams, who scores 9.9 points per game.
Against Jackson State, Southern will have to deal with the inside play of 6-foot-4 center Ameshya Williams, who averages 8.7 rebounds and a SWAC best 2.4 blocks per game. Marneisha Hamer leads JSU scoring 13.6 points per game.
Men looking for first SWAC win
The Southern men (3-12, 0-2) will be looking for their first conference win after dropping games at Texas Southern and Prairie View.
Grambling (8-7, 2-0) opened its SWAC schedule with a 70-60 win over Alabama A&M. The Tigers edged Alabama State 68-63 on Monday. Tip off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Southern will host Jackson State (4-11, 1-1) at 3 p.m. Monday. Last week, Jackson State defeated Alabama State 70-67 and lost to Alabama A&M 66-57.
Jackson State's Tristan Jarrett is the SWAC’s leading scorer at 20 points per game, and Jayveous McKinnis is the conference’s leading rebounder at 9.2 per game.
Damiree Burns is the Jaguars top scorer at 8.9 points while Darius Williams averages 6.8 rebounds